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Guyana and Norway establish REDD+ investment fund

President Bharrat Jagdeo and Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

GEORGEOTOWN (GINA) –President Bharrat Jagdeo and Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday announced the establishment of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), and stated that they have invited the World Bank to act as the fund manager.

Norway will be the first contributor to the GRIF, and will pay US$30 million into the fund when it is established, planned at the end of this month. The payment is in recognition of Guyana’s efforts to protect its 16 million hectare rainforest, and follows the memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries in November last year.

Norway intends to pay up to US$250 million into the GRIF between 2010 and 2015, based on Guyana’s performance in avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as Guyana’s on-going and planned strengthening of inclusive and transparent forest management.

Guyana will invest GRIF revenues to implement the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

This will enable Guyana to place its forest under long-term protection, catalyse public and private investment for clean energy (to move virtually the entire economy away from fossil fuel energy dependence), and create new low carbon economic and employment opportunities for forest dependent communities and other Guyanese citizens. The process will be evolving with the full and effective participation of involved stakeholders, including indigenous peoples groups.

According to Jagdeo, “Prime Minister Stoltenberg has long demonstrated global leadership in the fight against climate change. After Copenhagen, this leadership was particularly vital, and thanks to the Prime Minister’s efforts, the Interim REDD+ partnership, recently established by close to 60 countries at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, presents the world with a real chance to make progress on reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

To support this, the work our two countries are doing together will provide the world with a model of how national scale action to protect forests can help to create a path to a prosperous, low carbon future. We can deliver long-term economic growth alongside a commitment to globally accepted social and environmental safeguards. Too many people say this is not possible, we hope to prove them wrong.”

For Stoltenberg, “Guyana’s model is truly visionary. Not only is the country making tough decisions to protect its forest, but it is also planning to invest heavily to move its economy onto a long-term low carbon trajectory. Paying to reduce and avoid emissions from deforestation is one of the most cost effective ways to combat climate change, and also has significant additional benefits regarding biodiversity, climate change adaptation and rights and livelihoods for forest dependent communities. This is good for Guyana and good for the world.”

Jagdeo and Stoltenberg repeated their desire to continue a close political dialogue on the global response to climate change.

They are in New York to attend the second meeting of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Finance, which has been set up to identify ways to raise US$100 billion in annual climate finance for developing countries by 2020.

Guyana’s Minister of Finance will set out further details regarding the GRIF in a statement to Guyana’s National Assembly on July 15th, 2010.

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